March 10, 2019
Business is moving.
Antonio Brown will get his wish to leave the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have agreed to trade their disgruntled perennial all-pro to the Oakland Raiders for a third- and fifth-round draft pick.
A person with direct knowledge of the situation confirmed the move to USA TODAY Sports' A.J. Perez but requested anonymity because the transaction cannot become official until later this week.
Brown tweeted a picture of himself wearing Oakland's iconic Silver & Black late Saturday night and issued a second post of himself and Raiders quarterback Derek Carr when they were teammates on the AFC Pro Bowl squad.
Steelers agree to trade Antonio Brown to Raiders
Per NFL Network, Brown will receive a reworked contract that covers three years and pays $50.1 million (with a maximum value of $54.1 million) with $30.1 million of it guaranteed.
If he's able to attain the new deal's maximum value, Brown will surpass the Giants' Odell Beckham in terms of average annual compensation for a wide receiver. OBJ currently averages $18 million.
The swap cannot be finalized until Wednesday, when the NFL's new league year begins at 4 p.m. ET.
So ends Brown's nine-year tenure in the Steel City, where he was a seven-time Pro Bowler and finishes as the second-most prolific receiver in Steelers history (in terms of catches, yards and touchdowns) behind Hines Ward.
However, despite a reputation as a tireless worker, Brown had worn out his welcome by the end of 2018, which ended with him deactivated for a must-win game in the regular-season finale.
Since then, Brown has openly lobbied for a move through traditional and social media, expressing his unhappiness while characterizing his relationship with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the organization that drafted him in the sixth round in 2010 as broken.
Brown's public attitude, plus the fact that he'll turn 31 before next season, seemingly made it difficult for Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert to extract full value for a player who's averaged 114 receptions, 1,524 yards and 11 touchdowns over the past six seasons, historic production for such a sustained period. Pittsburgh was apparently close to shipping Brown to the Bills late Thursday, but he scuttled the trade, according to reports. Buffalo GM Brandon Beane publicly removed his team from the AB sweepstakes Friday morning.
Now Brown heads to Oakland, for one year anyway, and will then follow the Raiders to Las Vegas in 2020. It's a somewhat curious move for new GM Mike Mayock and coach Jon Gruden, who import a highly talented veteran but probably not someone who can be part of a long-term foundation like former Raiders stars Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper, who were both dealt in 2018.
But Mayock winds up retaining all three of his selections in Round 1 of April's draft and four of the first 35 picks as he and Gruden attempt to revitalize a club that's gone 10-22 over the past two years after breaking a lengthy playoff drought in 2016. Even with Brown, the Raiders still appear well behind the AFC West rival Chiefs and Chargers, who both reached the playoffs last season. But they obtain a high-wattage star to help herald the move to Sin City while the next wave of youngsters gets up to speed.
Back in Pittsburgh, Colbert, Roethlisberger and coach Mike Tomlin must forge ahead without Brown and star running back Le'Veon Bell, who will hit the free agent market himself. The Steelers failed to reach postseason last year for the first time since 2013 after Bell chose not to report rather than play under the franchise tag, while Brown's relationship with the organization unraveled.
Colbert now owns four of the upcoming draft's first 83 picks but also has lingering holes to fill on defense. Newly minted Pro Bowlers JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner have proven capable of filling much of the production of Brown and Bell, respectively, but neither player is the same kind of dynamic talent as his predecessor. Smith-Schuster — his 111 catches and 1,426 yards last season surpassed Brown's numbers (104 and 1,297, respectively) — must now prove he can thrive as a No. 1 receiver while being guarded by the top-tier corners who used to shadow Brown.
Yet it must also be noted that Pittsburgh never got further than the AFC Championship Game with Brown and Bell as starters despite their prodigious talent. Both had the proclivity to be a distraction and often left Tomlin and their teammates trying to answer for their questionable actions.
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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